Underdogs had plenty of "bark" but Cork had the bite

Underdogs V Cork.

Underdogs had plenty of “bark” but Cork had the
bite. By Fr Liam Kelleher

Cork 3-10 Underdogs 1-1


On Saturday night last a sizeable crowd turned out, for the eagerly
awaited showdown between Cork All-Ireland champions for the past
2 seasons and the much heralded, underdogs. Hyped to the limit
by their exposure on TG4 and buoyed by wins over Meath and Laois,
many were convinced that they would be the first outfit to lower
the rebel girl’s colours in 2 years. Add the fact,

that Capt. of the underdogs was from Cork, a precocious and confident
Sarah O’Donovan. The game was anticipated with championship fervour
and despite the finishing score line which indicated a rout, in
reality that was not the case by any manner of means. What it
did show that Cork, despite their inactivity as a team in recent
months, they had lost none of the edge, that

has made them the most feared and respected team in the land.
Many had been in club action and they did not come into this game
“cold’ anything but.

Forced to line out without Rena Buckley, Norita Kelly of their
All-Ireland starting line-up through injury, the respect that
Cork showed to the series and further TV exposure, to display
their talents, ensured that this would be a most entertaining
hour. After the opening tentative period of familiarisation, Cork
slowly but surely exerted their authority. Again it was Player
of the match in the All-Ireland final, Nollaig Cleary who showed
the greatest sharpness; she tormented the underdogs defence and
only for

some brave and resolute defending Cork would have been out of
sight by the short whistles. They limited Cork to a Nollaig Cleary
point for the opening 10 minutes, before Juliet Murphy added a
2nd from a free. followed by a point from Caoimhe Creedon and
Nollaig. Laura Power corner back and Regina Curtin slotted in
well for Rena Buckley and Norita Kelly and Miss Curtin and

the impeccable Juliet Murphy, gave Cork a definite edge at midfield
despite the best efforts of Laura Corrigan and Grace Donnelly.
Martina Giltenan minding the net, with her sisters Rosemarie and
Olivia in the corners and Catherine McAteer, soaked up an enormous
amount of pressure.

With the intensity of Corks play something had to give and the
defining score of the half came from the boot of Valerie Mulcahy
back to her best form, when after a searing run rifled an unstoppable
shot to the roof of the net. Despite many promising moves the
underdogs failed to score in the opening period and they had a
number of gilt-edged chances, their poor first touch and lack
of experience letting them down on several occasions. They missed
a great chance in the opening 10 seconds when Catherine MC Gourty
shot wide from a favourable position.

Meanest defence What must also be remembered is the fact that
they were up against the meanest defence in the country led by
Elaine Harte who soundness personified, why she dot not merit
even an all Star nomination will ever remain a mystery. Angela
Walsh fresh from her All-Ireland Intermediate success with Inch
Rovers was rock solid and while she had to leave the arena

after a hard knock she returned to be mistress of all she surveyed.
Briege Corkery was simply Briege, making the ball do the work
although she did enliven the proceeding a few times with her trademark
runs from defence. The half line of Geraldine O’Flynn, Brid Stack
and her Rockchapel club mate always had the edge. The one obvious
tactic the underdogs had was to hit

hard and it did work but only to a limited extent. In truth negative
tactics rarely win battles and class should be the defining trait
of all good teams particularly as far as Ladies Football is concerned
and Cork had that in abundance. While Joe Murray is one of the
most experienced refs on the Ladies Football circuit, the straight
red card he issued to dual All Star Mary O’Connor just before
the break, went virtually unnoticed and the player herself was
first to admit that she did hit out after a few hard tackles and
was inconsolable on the sideline Cork’s lead of 1-5 to 0-0 at
the interval looked safe, but not secure. Certainly the efforts
of the

underdogs did deserve a score in the opening period and Brian
Mullins, Geraldine Feerick and Sean O Domhnaill must have been
at their wits end to think of something to say to their charges
that would held turn the red tide. There was no appreciable change
for the 2nd half with Cork reduced to 14 providing more of the
same. Another Valerie Mulcahy special finally killed of the game
as a spectacle. The biggest cheer of the evening came for the
underdogs, who appeared to have more support than cork, came when

eventually they scored through Angela Gallagher. They did score
a consolation goal through their best forward, Laura Walsh, who
worked tirelessly all over the field for the hour. The general
consensus was that this was a very worthwhile exercise and the
proceeds going to the Hope Foundation everyone was a winner.

On the evidence of Corks display and with the same management
team installed for the coming year they should make a bold bid
for 3 in a row The hunger will still be there and with a new faces
likely to be added to freshen up things and give an even greater
depth to the squad. Scorers Cork Valerie Mulcahy 2-1. Nollaig
Cleary 1-2 Deirdre O’Reilly 0-2. Amanda Murphy, Regina Curtin,
Juliet Murphy Caoimhe Creedon 0-1 each.

Cork Ealien Harte, Briege Corkery, Angela Walsh, Laura Power,
Geraldine O’Flynn Brid Stack Sinead O’Reilly, Juliet Murphy Capt
Regina Curtin, Nollaig Cleary, Deirdre O’Reilly, Amanda Murphy,
Valerie Mulcahy, mary O’Connor, Caoimhe Creedon, Claire O’Donoghue,
Rena Buckley, Norita Kelly, Aisling O’Connor, Mairead Kelly, Catriona
Foley, Norma Kelly, Sarah O’Connell, Elaine O’Riordan, Eimear
Walsh, Niamh Keohane.

Underdogs. Martina Giltenan Limerick. Rosemarie Giltenane do,
Catherine McAteer Donegal Olivia Giltenane, Limerick, Claire Kelly
Roscommon, Susanne Murray Dublin, Meabh Nash Limerick, Laura Corrigan
Cavan, Grace Donnelly Meath, Angela Gallagher Dublin, Sarah ODonovan
Capt Cork Ciara Ferry Dublin, Catherine McGourty Down, Laura Walsh
Westmeath, Carla Moran Dublin. Anne Marie Walsh Cork, Claire Kearns
Cavan, Louis Glass Derry, Valerie Doogue Laois. Sarah Mullin Sligo,
Linda Lodge Limerick. Yvonne Connelll, Monaghan.

Meabh Hughes Wexford. Mags d’Arcy Wexford. April Purcell Kilkenny,
Maria Walsh Galway.


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